Install Kimai on Ubuntu 22.04

How to install Kimai on a brand new Ubuntu 22.04 with database, webserver and SSL certificate

This is a collection of snippets to help you with setting up a fresh Ubuntu 22.04 LTS server for using with Kimai. It is neither a fully fledged documentation, explaining each step, nor is it a bash tutorial.

Please see it as a personal snippet collection… in which I assume:

  • that you are familiar with the Linux bash and have at least basic knowledge of vim
  • that you use a single domain on this server, change the nginx configuration accordingly if you have multiple VirtualHosts
  • that you know how to protect your server (UFW, Fail2Ban …) and can securely run it in the public internet

You must additionally:

  • replace IP-of-myserver with the server IP
  • replace the username kevin with your own
  • replace the domain www.kimai.local with your own

Accounts and SSH connection

We start on our local machine, connect to the server and create our real user account:

ssh root@IP-of-myserver

useradd -m -s /bin/bash kevin
passwd kevin

Enable sudo access for this new user:

visudo /etc/sudoers.d/kevin

And paste this one line:

kevin   ALL=(ALL:ALL) ALL

Back to our local machine:


Generate your SSH key and sent it to your server:

ssh-keygen -f ~/.ssh/myserver_rsa
ssh-copy-id -i ~/.ssh/ kevin@IP-of-myserver

Then edit your local SSH config:

vim ~/.ssh/config

And paste this:

Host myserver
    HostName IP-of-myserver
    IdentityFile ~/.ssh/myserver_rsa
    User kevin

And finally on to the server to start the software installation:

ssh myserver

Secure your SSH daemon

Make sure your SSH server has at least some basic security settings in place:

sudo su
vim /etc/ssh/sshd_config

Change those:

PermitRootLogin no
PasswordAuthentication no

And restart the SSH Daemon:

service sshd restart

Install PHP, webserver and database

Let’s start with all required software:

apt-get update
apt-get upgrade
apt-get install git unzip curl vim mariadb-server mariadb-client nginx
apt-get install software-properties-common

Now install PHP 8.3:

apt-get install php8.3 php8.3-curl php8.3-fpm php8.3-gd php8.3-intl php8.3-mbstring php8.3-mysql php8.3-opcache php8.3-xml php8.3-zip

Install composer

Grab the latest hash from the composer download page and then execute:

php -r "copy('', 'composer-setup.php');"
php -r "if (hash_file('sha384', 'composer-setup.php') === '906a84df04cea2aa72f40b5f787e49f22d4c2f19492ac310e8cba5b96ac8b64115ac402c8cd292b8a03482574915d1a8') { echo 'Installer verified'; } else { echo 'Installer corrupt'; unlink('composer-setup.php'); } echo PHP_EOL;"

Only proceed if you see: Installer verified!

php composer-setup.php
php -r "unlink('composer-setup.php');"
chmod +x composer.phar
mv composer.phar /usr/bin/composer

Create database

Connect to your database as root user:

sudo su
mysql -u root

And execute the following statements:

CREATE USER IF NOT EXISTS `kimai`@ IDENTIFIED BY "my-super-secret-password";
GRANT select,insert,update,delete,create,alter,drop,index,references ON `kimai`.* TO kimai@;

Replace “my-super-secret-password” with a strong password and probably change the username as well.

Install Kimai

Clone Kimai and set proper file permissions:

Please compare with the latest version infos at: </documentation/installation.html>

cd /var/www/
git clone -b 2.18.0 --depth 1
cd kimai/
composer install --no-dev --optimize-autoloader -n
vim .env

Configure the database connection and adjust the settings to your needs (compare with the original .env file):


Then execute the Kimai installation:

bin/console kimai:install -n
bin/console kimai:user:create admin ROLE_SUPER_ADMIN

Adjust file permission

You have to allow PHP (your webserver process) to write to var/ and it subdirectories.

Here is an example for Debian/Ubuntu (to be executed inside the Kimai directory):

chown -R :www-data .
chmod -R g+r .
chmod -R g+rw var/

Use sudo to run the commands to change file permissions.

Configure webserver

Good, now that we have done all these steps we only need the webserver and VirtualHost configuration:

Check your PHP-FPM config for the fastcgi_pass (eg. version and socket)

This can be done with:

vim /etc/php/8.3/fpm/pool.d/www.conf
listen = /run/php/php8.3-fpm.sock

Edit/create the virtual host file:

vim /etc/nginx/sites-available/kimai

And paste the following configuration:

server {
    listen 80 default_server;
    listen [::]:80 default_server;
    server_name www.kimai.local;
    root /var/www/kimai/public;
    index index.php;

    access_log off;
    log_not_found off;

    location ~ /\.ht {
        deny all;

    location / {
        try_files $uri /index.php$is_args$args;

    location ~ ^/index\.php(/|$) {
        fastcgi_pass unix:/run/php/php8.3-fpm.sock;
        fastcgi_split_path_info ^(.+\.php)(/.*)$;
        include fastcgi.conf;
        fastcgi_param PHP_ADMIN_VALUE "open_basedir=$document_root/..:/tmp/";

    location ~ \.php$ {
        return 404;

Remove the Ubuntu default host and activate the site:

unlink /etc/nginx/sites-enabled/default
ln -s /etc/nginx/sites-available/kimai /etc/nginx/sites-enabled/kimai
nginx -t && service nginx reload

Install Certbot for SSL

Almost there, only the free Lets Encrypt SSL certificate is missing:

apt-get install certbot python3-certbot-nginx
certbot --nginx

Follow the interactive dialogs and choose your new domain. The certbot will rewrite your nginx site configuration and the https site should now work out-of-the-box.

Kimai is now up and running at www.kimai.local - enjoy!

Bonus points

The following points are hints for advanced use-cases. No support given!

Change SSH Port

By changing the default SSH port to a higher number, you can work around script-kiddies which use default “hacking tools” with default settings for their port-scans:

sed -i -e 's/#Port 22/Port 54321/g' /etc/ssh/sshd_config
service sshd restart


Enable the universal firewall and allow the new SSH port:

ufw allow from any to any port 22 proto tcp
ufw allow from any to any port 54321 proto tcp
ufw allow http
ufw allow https
ufw default allow outgoing
ufw default deny incoming
ufw enable


Install the fail2ban service and clone the Kimai plugin.

apt-get install fail2ban
cd /var/www/kimai/var/plugins/
git clone

Now reload the Kimai cache and follow the instructions at

Finally, enable fail2ban with:

service fail2ban start
systemctl enable fail2ban